What is a state jail felony?
If you live in Texas and are accused of a drug crime or lower level property crime, you could be facing something called a state jail felony. A state jail felony belongs to a felony category created in 1993.
Section 12.44(a) of the Texas Penal Code discusses state jail felonies and how they may be punished. Typically, those convicted of a state jail felony will go to a state jail for between six months and two years. State jail sentences also have to be served day-for-day, meaning that the time spent in jail may not be reduced with good conduct or parole.
Why do defendants need to fight against state jail felonies?
Since state jail felonies are rather strict, getting a conviction means that you will need to fulfill the entire sentence. For this reason, it’s important to seek a reduction in punishment.
Section 12.44(a) of the Texas Penal Code does allow state jail felonies to be penalized instead as Class A misdemeanors in some cases. The judge will determine if this is appropriate based on your behavior and the gravity of the crime that was allegedly committed. Interestingly, this is still a felony charge despite being called a misdemeanor.
If the charge is reduced, it normally means that instead of going to state jail for up to two years, you would face up to a year in a county jail. There, it’s possible to receive good time credit as well as probation.
It may be possible to get an actual misdemeanor charge in some cases, but the prosecution will need to agree to penalties under section 12.44(b) rather than 12.44(a).
What can you do to help yourself if you face a state jail felony?
It is always in your best interests to develop a strong defense regardless of the charges you face and the penalties that may come from a conviction. It is valuable to look into reducing the charges and finding ways to minimize the potential for a felony conviction on your record. A good defense may help minimize your risk of imprisonment or get the charges dropped completely.